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9 Ways to Have MORE Fun with Beginner Salsa Dancers


Now that I’ve made a video on How to Adjust Your Lead for Beginner Salsa Partners, let’s talk about to how to have fun with less experienced partners.

You now know how to identify your partner’s comfort zone and adjust what you do and how you do it, so let’s learn how to play within those constraints.

Since you can’t do advanced moves, how do you find those moments to play with your partner?

What are some ideas you can try during a dance to have fun?

Tip #1: Find Ways to Play Within Their Abilities

When you’re playing, if she makes a mistake, just smile and pretend that’s what you meant to do. Nobody likes to feel like they’re making mistakes. Dance is not about being perfect; it’s about having fun together. People remember how you make them feel. If you make them feel great, they’ll want to come back and improve. If you give them a negative experience, they won’t have fun or keep dancing. It’s all about playing and having fun.

Tip #2: Keep Partner Work Simple and Playful

In partner work, keep her movements simple and add complexity for yourself. Add playful movements whenever you can:

  • Hair Brushes and Head Loops:
  • Add a check during a cross body lead
  • Put her arm on your shoulder or back and turn your head underneath it
  • Interlock Arms and do a basic beside her
  • Interlock Arms and rotate around each other
  • Go into a hammerlock and walk around each other in a circle like in cuban style salsa.

Tip #3: Playful Shines

When you let go of her for shines, she might be nervous if you just do your own thing. Instead, make eye contact and do a simple step with body movement that’s easy for her to copy. This will help her relax and have fun. Here are a few ideas:

  • Stepping on Chord Beats: Step slowly on counts 1, 3, 5, and 7 toward or around her. Add a shoulder shimmy and a smile to give her energy.
  • Rotate on the spot: move around in a circle on the spot using the chord beats 1-3-5-7, adding shoulder or hip movements.
  • Do Enchuflas and Groove from side to side. As you switch sides, groove, have fun, make eye contact, then exit into an “enchufla” or something that flows nicely.

Tip #4: Example from Magna Gopal (see video)

Magna Gopal is an amazing dancer. She always finds moments to connect with her partner and have fun, regardless of their level. She listens before she speaks, paying attention to the music and her partner to find those moments to play. Check out her social dance videos for inspiration.


  • Listen Before You Speak: Pay attention to how your partner holds themself, how they move, and what they’re comfortable with.
  • Adjust Your Moves: Modify what you’re doing and how you do it.
  • Find Moments to Play: Have fun within the constraints of your partner’s comfort zone.

If you’d like to go deeper into improving your social dancing for salsa or bachata, check out our online programs. You can even try them free for a week here.